Here you will find useful tips about the weather, altitude, Peru’s currency, visa, vaccinations and other important subjects.
Weather & Climate
The day temperature is year round about 20º C in Cusco. Due to the high altitude, between May and October (winter), temperature can drop to about 3º C or even colder at night. In the summer from December to April, it is a little warmer, but there may be heavy rains. Generally speaking, Cusco can be cold, especially in the shadow and at night. There are no heating systems, so bring warm clothes. The sun is always very strong, so use a really good sun cream.
It is important to know that some areas of Peru are situated at extreme heights. Cusco, for example, is situated at 3,360 meters and Puno at 3,800 meters. Most people are not used to such altitude, and if you don’t take care the first few days, you can get sick. Take your time and take it easy when you arrive. Don’t drink any alcohol and don’t eat heavy meals on the first 2 days. Drink tea extracted from the leaves of the coca plant instead. Coca tea is common in the Peruvian Andes and helps reduce the negative effects of altitude sickness and stomach problems. You can buy pills in Cusco if you feel sick due to the altitude. At 3,000 meters or higher the air is dry and thin. This makes skin and especially lips dehydrated. If you feel this occurring, apply some cream or lip balm.
Peru's currency is the Nuevo Sol (S/.). One Nuevo Sol is broken down into 100 centimos. Banknotes currently circulating include 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 Nuevos Soles. Coins come in 1, 2 and 5 Nuevos Soles. Smaller coins include 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimos.
There are no restrictions for changing currency in Peru. US dollars are commonly accepted in most hotels and tourist shops. Local shops and markets accept only Soles. We recommend exchanging money in banks, because they offer more security and guarantees. Be wary of counterfeit banknotes. If you bring US Dollars, make sure the banknotes are new and without any damage. If the banknote is not perfect, it will not be accepted in Peru.
Visa, Master Card and American Express are welcome in Peru. Credit cards can be used in high category establishments. In case you need cash, use one of the numerous ATM’s located all over the country, especially in larger cities. In Cusco there are many ATM’s in the city centre. Proyecto Peru accepts Visa credit card payments. For further information or to cancel your credit card, contact:Visa: (511) 372-5808
Master Card: (511) 444-3366
Traveler`s cheques are not usually accepted in shops, restaurants, hostels, etc. However, exchanging them elsewhere is not a problem. A 7% commission fee will be charged at the airport, 2% to 6% at banks in the city, while only 2% will be charged at exchange bureaus.
You can use public transport buses and mini-buses to get around Cusco with a charge of less than one Sol (S/.1.00). On the other hand, taxis have a fixed urban tariff of 3 Soles (about $1 USD) for a short ride and a little more for longer rides. If possible, use registered taxis; a sign and a phone number on the roof identify them.
Internet costs about one to two Soles per hour. There are many throughout the city. Proyecto Peru has a Wi-Fi connection in the school which is free for all students, volunteers and interns. Also most of our accommodations have internet access.
For phone services you can use a phone card with one of the hundreds of public phones located all around the city. Probably the best way is to simply buy a prepaid sim card and put it in the mobile phone you bring from home.
Safety and Security
Wherever you go, always keep the following rule in mind: don’t let your money, backpack, documents or cameras out of your possession. Don´t walk around with bank cards, passport etc if you don´t need them that day. It is not necessary to become paranoid while travelling in Peru, but be aware of pickpockets in crowded places.
Tourist Protection Service
The Tourist Protection Service (SPT) has been created to protect your consumer rights by helping you to solve any problems that may arise regarding the tourist services you contract in Peru. The SPT intercedes on behalf of tourists to obtain immediate attention from the individual or company that fails to provide optimal and timely service, or does not comply with contractual terms or advertised conditions.
You can reach the SPT by telephone or fax the 24 hour Hot Line: +511 421-1227.
Call toll free: 0800-4-2579 (not available by pay phone). When calling, kindly give the operator your full name, explain your problem briefly, and identify the individual or company involved. For further assistance, there is a team of assistants that will be able to help you by phone or in person, as required. The service is available in Spanish or English. Contact us for further questions >
Most European and North American visitors with a valid passport are permitted to stay in Peru for a maximum of 183 days without any visa requirements. However, travelers from all African countries (except South Africa), Middle Eastern, and Eastern European countries must pre arrange their tourist visas: you can visit this website to know exactly for which country you need a visa to visit Peru. An exit ticket is officially required to enter the country.
As in most countries, in order to visit Peru, any traveler must show a valid passport upon entry. If you leave the country you can enter Peru again without any problems as long as you don't exceed the maximum total stay of 183 days.
Health and vaccinations
Concerning the vaccinations, we recommend you to ask your doctor, especially if you are planning to visit the Amazon jungle. No vaccination is obligatory, but Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Yellow Fiber (for the jungle) are recommended. If you have any sort of allergy, please let us know at the beginning of your program.
Do not drink tap water unless it has been boiled, treated with iodine, or purified. This includes ice cubes or anything that has come into contact with untreated water (like lettuce). If you are bitten by a dog (or any animal), get a medical checkup immediately to ensure you don’t get rabies.
We work together with a medical clinic in Cusco. If there is anything concerning your health during your stay in Cusco, we make sure you will be treated well.
If you choose one of our accommodation options (home stay with a guest family or flat), the pick-up service from the airport in Cusco is included without extra charge. Please remember to tell us your arrival details at least 5 days in advance to ensure the pick-up. When you step out of the airport building (after you pass through customs) you will see somebody waiting for you. We will have a sign with your name and "Proyecto Peru Centre" written on it. If you miss your flight please call us at (0051) 950301317 and we will do our best to have somebody pick you up at the time of your arrival. If you arrive early, please wait for your pick-up. If our staff member does not show up on time, the driver probably just got stuck in a traffic jam. Please wait outside for 20 minutes; if nobody shows up by then please call us. Please do not take a taxi without informing us.